VA Protocol For Toxic Exposure

During their time in service a number of veterans were exposed to environmental toxins in the course of their duties. VA has set up registries for those members to join which not only allows conditions to be monitored and studied but also provides assistance to those veterans suffering ailments due to the exposure. Veterans on these registries have programs available to them offering free medical exams, diagnostic tests, laboratory procedures and provides health information for any diseases they may suffer as a result of exposure. A VA examination is required to be included in the registries. As long as time of service coincides with the time of possible exposure to a toxic substance deemed accurate by the registry parameters, the veteran will automatically be included in the designated registry. If any veteran suspects they could possibly be part of one of these registries it is to their benefit to have an examination. This allows for greater study of any illnesses associated with different types of exposure and also can help them predict what illnesses in the future they might be combating and identify what might be categorized as service-connected illnesses. For complete information visit http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/

Following is a current list of VA health registries:

  • Gulf war registry:  veterans who served in the Gulf War and Operation Iraqi Freedom
  • Depleted Uranium Registries: there are two registries under this category which are a) veteran serving in the Gulf War including Operation Iraqi Freedom and b) those serving in other locations including Afghanistan and Bosnia
  • Agent Orange Registry:  veterans exposed to dioxin or Agent Orange or other toxic substances in herbicides during the Vietnam War, while serving in Korea from 1962 to 1969 or as the result of transporting or spraying herbicides on military order
  • Ionizing Radiation Registry:  veterans present during the detonation of an atomic device, who served during the Hiroshima and Nagasaki occupation August 6, 1945 through July 1, 1946,  who were POWs in Japan during World War II, veterans treated and for nasopharyngeal radium during military service, veterans on military duty in at gaseous diffusion plants possibly exposed to atomic radiation in Paducah Kentucky, Portsmouth Ohio or the K-25 area at Oak Ridge Tennessee for a minimum of 250 days before February 1, 1992, or those in longshot Milrow or Cannikin underground nuclear tests at Amchitka Island, Alaska, before January 1, 1974

Due to the exposure during the Vietnam War of so many veterans to Agent Orange the VA has compiled a list of illnesses that they will presume a result of this exposure. This presumption gives those veterans experiencing these illnesses the ability to go and seek health benefits and care without having to prove association between their illness and their military service. The following illnesses are encompassed by the VA's presumption rule:

  • Acute and subacute peripheral neuropathy
  • AL amyloidosis
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or ALS
  • B cell leukemias
  • Chloracne
  • Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Diabetes mellitus type 2
  • Hodgkin's disease
  • Ischemic heart disease
  • Multiple Myeloma
  • Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Porphyria cutanea tarda
  • Prostate cancer
  • Respiratory cancers
  • Soft tissue sarcoma other than osteosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, Kaposi's sarcoma or mesothelioma
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